What’s The Difference Between A Sports Medicine Doctor And An Orthopedic Doctor?

Sports Medicine doctors are specialists that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries. Orthopedic doctors are also specialized in these areas, but they have a more clinical focus with work centered around surgical procedures.

A sports medicine doctor is not always an orthopedic doctor though. Sports medicine can be defined as “the science or study of exercise to promote health.” Some people may think that this means it’s only for athletes – but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Anyone can benefit from sports medicine knowledge because there are many ways to prevent injury through exercise and stretching techniques. The best way to learn about what you need is by talking with your local sports physician today!


What Is The Difference Between A Sports Medicine Doctor And An Orthopedic Doctor?

This is a question that many people ask themselves when deciding to make an appointment with either of these professionals. While both are trained in medicine, their specialties vary greatly.

Sports medicine doctors specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of injuries related to the body’s muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons; Orthopedic surgeons focus on diagnosing and treating bone disorders such as fractures or diseases like arthritis.

Sports medicine doctors are trained to focus on the non-surgical treatment of sports injuries, while orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgical treatments.

Both can treat athletic injuries with similar treatments such as physical therapy or medication but orthopedic surgeons also perform surgeries when needed for conditions like torn ligaments or broken bones that cannot heal properly without surgery. Athletes should choose a doctor based on their needs whether they need therapeutic care versus surgical intervention for example rather than by what type of physician they prefer seeing so it is important to find out which one provides this specialty if necessary before making an appointment.

Some people may also use the terms sports medicine specialist and orthopedist interchangeably but there is a distinction between the two specialties. A sports medicine doctor is typically someone who completed a residency in family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics and then did a fellowship in sports medicine. An orthopedic doctor is a physician who specializes exclusively in the care of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. They have completed a surgical residency that focused on orthopedics.


A Sports Medicine Doctor Is Learned In Other Specialties

Sports medicine needs an understanding of orthopedics, but it also necessitates research in other specialties. To improve an individual’s physical performance, a sports medicine doctor uses a comprehensive approach that includes designing appropriate dietary programs and exercising efficiently.

Non-orthopedic disorders, such as concussions, are also addressed by sports medicine doctors during training and other physical activity. Furthermore, not all sports medicine doctors are surgically trained and may choose to focus on nonsurgical options.


Orthopedic Doctors Focus On Orthopedics As A Whole

The musculoskeletal system – bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues — is covered by orthopedic doctors, this can be anything from back pain to broken legs. Nonsurgical therapy approaches are taught to orthopedic physicians. Additional training in surgical remedies for musculoskeletal disorders may be available to orthopedists.

Orthopedics is a relatively small area of the body that doctors focus on when they have completed medical school and are beginning their residency training, which includes additional years of study after graduating from medical school.


Do Their Patients Differ?

Some people may wonder if there is a difference between the patients being treated by these two types of doctors. The main difference is that sports medicine doctors have additional knowledge and experience in treating sports-related injuries. This means they can provide specialized care for patients who participate in athletics or those who have sustained an injury while playing a sport. Orthopedic doctors may also treat sports-related injuries, but their focus is more on musculoskeletal injuries.

If you’ve been injured playing sports like soccer or hockey it’s best to see a doctor with expertise in treating athletes. If you’re having back pain from sitting at your desk all day long, an orthopedic surgeon might be better suited for diagnosis and treatment of this condition than a sports medicine doctor who works primarily on athletic trauma cases. Orthopedic surgeons typically work in a hospital setting and sports medicine doctors often run their own clinics.


How Can You Tell The Difference Between An Orthopedic Surgeon Vs Sports Medicine Doctor?

It’s important to know that there isn’t always a clear distinction or difference between orthopedic surgery vs sports medicine – many medical professionals have training in both fields! If your friend recommends one over the other it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not right for you. In fact, most physicians go into residency with an open mind about which field of practice they’d like to specialize in. Talk with your primary care physician or specialist before choosing where you’ll seek treatment so that everyone is on the same page when it comes time for treatment planning.

The difference between a sports medicine doctor and an orthopedic doctor is that one deals with the general field of orthopedics while another specializes in athletic injuries. It’s important to know which type of specialist you are looking for in order to get the best care, so call us today to schedule your consultation!





Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?

Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions, including back injuries.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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